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04 June 2019 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Charl Devenish
Prof Cathryn Tonne
Air pollution not only costs lives, it costs money too. Pictured is Prof Cathryn Tonne presenting a guest lecture on air pollution at the Bloemfontein Campus.

Health effects associated with ambient air pollution (AAP) have been well documented. Subsequently, the relationship between pollution and financial outcomes have also become a focus for case studies globally. An Environmental Research journal article revealed that “low and middle-income countries are disproportionately affected by the global burden of adverse health effects caused by AAP”. 

A high price to pay

In 2012, high concentrations of air pollution caused 7.4% of all deaths, costing South Africa up to 6% of its Gross Domestic Product. According to the recent International Growth Centre study conducted by senior University of Cape Town researchers, this is a direct consequence of the country’s heavy dependence of fossil fuels, a source of health-damaging air pollution and greenhouse pollutants.

Stunted human and economic growth

These South African statistics are attested to by Prof Cathryn Tonne who recently presented a guest lecture on air pollution which was hosted by the University of the Free State (UFS) Business School.

“Air pollution can affect economic development through several pathways, and health is an important one. Air pollution is linked to shorter life expectancy, chronic disease, asthma exacerbation and many other health outcomes that result in absenteeism from work and school. These have large direct costs to the health system.” 

Prof Tonne says that air pollution exposure in children is linked to reduced cognitive development, with important impacts on human capital. As a result, children are not reaching their full potential in terms of neurodevelopment, which has an effect on their income prospects and the economy as a whole. 

Resolving a looming disaster

Technology may be employed to radically clean the air. Cities need to lead in the reduction of air pollution by promoting renewable energy, using active transport such as walking or cycling, and investing in infrastructure to make this safe and attractive. 

With researchers playing a major role in strengthening the case for aggressive air pollution control, the government needs to implement policies in order to control sources of air pollution. This global health and economic issue also requires individuals and communities to play their part to improve air quality.

News Archive

UFS announces its Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year
2012-10-12

Here are, from the left: Raymond Rhule, Junior Sportsman of the year, Prof. Teuns Verschoor, Vice-Rector: Institutional Affairs, and Jamba Ulengo, Sportsman of the year. Izelle Lategan (Sportswoman of the year) and Tanya Brits (Junior Sportswoman of the year) was not present at the event.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs
12 October 2012

The University of the Free State (UFS) honoured its top achievers at a glamorous gala dinner in the Centenary Complex on the Bloemfontein Campus on Thursday 11 October 2012. Jamba Ulengo and Izelle Lategan were named the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the year respectively.

The Junior Sportsman and Sportswoman for 2012 are Raymond Rhule and Tanya Brits.

This year the university’s sport stars were honoured in five categories. This includes:

- Sportsman and Sportswoman of the year (everyone that represented South Africa at a senior level, was eligible for the title). The winners each received a trophy and each sportsman and sportswomen in this category were honoured with a medal.
- Junior sportsman and sportswoman of the year. The winners each received a trophy.
- Sport stars that represented South Africa at senior and junior level. The achievers received certificates.
- Sport stars that represented the UFS in the national student teams. The sport stars also received certificates.
- Certificates were also awarded to the KovsieSport club sport stars.

The following students represented South Africa at senior level:

- Nardus Greyling. He represented the SA Athletics Team in the Confederation of African Athletics Senior Championship.
- Boy Soke. He represented the SA Athletics Team in the Confederation of African Cross-country Championship
- Izelle Lategan. She represented the Investec SA Women’s Hockey Team in the Champs Challenge in Dublin, Ireland, in Holland and Belgium and she played for the SA U/21 team against Spain and Belgium. She was also captain of the SA U/21-team during the senior interprovincial championships.
- JVA Steytler. He represented the SA Athletics Team in the Confederation of African Athletics Senior Championship.
- Johan Cronjé. He represented the SA Athletics Team as a 1 500 m finalist in the Confederation of African Athletics Senior Championship. He also participated in the Dessau International meeting in Germany and the Grand Prix meeting in Prague.
 

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